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The State : Help Withheld in AIDS Death

December 23, 1987

An Oakland fire captain and his crew refused to touch the body of a bleeding AIDS patient, prompting a complaint from paramedics who futilely tried to revive her. The incident is being investigated by the Alameda County Emergency Medical Services District. The effect of the investigation was unclear, however, since Oakland firefighters are not certified as emergency medical technicians. Firefighters were first to respond Dec. 15 at the home of a 35-year-old woman, who had contracted acquired immune deficiency syndrome from intravenous drug use. The fire captain, whose name was not released, decided that the woman, "with a considerable amount of discharged blood," had died and told his crew not to touch her because they lacked adequate protective gear. Fire officials said they stand by the crew's decision.

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